John Fowles by Eileen Warburton
A Life in Two Worlds

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John Fowles has been compared to Henry James and Virginia Woolf. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt in The New York Times hailed him as "a remarkable novelist," and the novelist John Gardner described him as "the only writer in English who has the power, range, knowledge, and wisdom of a Tolstoy." Four of his works have been adapted for film, including the Academy Award–nominated The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

Despite his immense critical and popular success, only now has Fowles found the capable biographer he has long deserved. In John Fowles: A Life in Two Worlds, Eileen Warburton provides a richly detailed portrait that emphasizes his emergence as one the twentieth century’s most important writers. She chronicles his prewar childhood in a London commuter town and in wartime rural England, his Oxford education, and his apprentice years in Europe and London. From a lifetime of intimate correspondence, she narrates Fowles’s thirty-seven-year love affair with the wife who inspired his most memorable women characters. And she follows the astonishing trajectory of Fowles’s long writing career—from his spectacular debut novel, The Collector (1963), to the haunting The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969), through his later fiction, poems, essays, and translations.


About Eileen Warburton

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Eileen Warburton is a scholar who lives in Newport, Rhode Island.
Published March 30, 2004 by Viking Adult. 528 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for John Fowles

Kirkus Reviews

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by the time his first book, The Collector, was published in 1963, she tells us, Fowles had written and shelved “nine or ten other novels.” Those who aspire to a soft life of literary fame will find Fowles’s example salutary, for no sooner had he become celebrated than did Fowles begin to reject t...

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The Guardian

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John Fowles: A Life in Two Worlds by Eileen Warburton 510pp, Cape, £25 The Journals: Volume 1 by John Fowles edited by Charles Drazin 668pp, Cape, £30 In the 1960s, John Fowles achieved something extraordinary.

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Publishers Weekly

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Granted full access by the reclusive author to his voluminous journals and personal papers, Warburton's first book is a sweeping, all-but-authorized biography that will surprise fans of The Magus with its account of Fowles's conventional background and entice those of The French Lieutenant's Wom...

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London Review of Books

He dates his self-discovery as a writer to his climbing of Mount Parnassus in the summer of 1952: ‘It is from this ascent that I date some real first belief in myself as a writer.’ As the editor of the Journals, Charles Drazin, notes, ‘while other writers have been content to climb Parnassus in t...

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